Spiced roast potatoes with coriander, cumin and black pepper

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A fragrant twist on traditional roast potatoes, these Afghani-spiced versions from Sumayya Usmani are the perfect accompaniment to her alternative Christmas dinner, or indeed a Sunday roast.

First published in 2015

Roast potatoes really do complete a Christmas dinner, and although perfectly roasted potatoes with just a little salt can’t be beaten, I love this spiced version with my Afghani blend of black peppercorns, coriander and cumin seeds, together with the thyme-like flavour of ajwain seeds. The tart, sourness of tamarind is balanced by sweet brown sugar and the mineral nature of Himalayan pink salt. These make a lovely side to my Kashmiri-style roast lamb shanks recipe.





Add the potato chunks to a pan of salted water and bring to the boil over a moderate heat. Par-boil for 6–8 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Meanwhile, place the peppercorns, coriander and cumin seeds into a dry frying pan and lightly toast over a moderate heat until fragrant, being careful not to let them burn. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly
Once the potatoes are par-boiled, drain in a colander and transfer to a deep baking tray. Shake the pan to roughen up the surface and edges of the potatoes
Combine the ajwain seeds, chilli flakes, pink salt and sugar with the toasted spices then sprinkle over the potatoes. Add the tamarind paste and vegetable oil, mixing with the potatoes and spices so that everything is evenly coated
Transfer to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, tossing everything around halfway through the cooking time, until the potatoes are crispy yet soft inside, with slightly caramelised edges
Sprinkle with the freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve immediately
First published in 2015

Sumayya Usmani is a cookbook author, writer and cookery teacher who specialises in Pakistani cuisine.

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